We are truckin’ through a TON of changes here at CMB with our 31 Days to a More Reader-Friendly Blog series. Are you making some big changes to your blog? We pray we aren’t putting too much on your radar at one time! Yet, we also pray we are giving you the tools and tips necessary to take your blog to the next level.
Today we are chatting about the benefits if you use post excerpts on your homepage OR blogpage.
Do you know what I mean?
This is when you go to your site, the first page you see (homepage) would show a small preview of each post. It shows a thumbnail of the featured post and then the first several sentences (we set ours to 400 characters) of the post.
Some feel this is “annoying” to have to click on “read more” to get to the meat and potatoes of the post. I know, sometimes it can be a little extra work (you know, clicking that button…tough, right?) But what is the benefit? Speed. Ease. Convenience.
When a reader searches for a specific post, or clicks on a certain category, or when they go to your homepage, knowing they have missed a few posts and one had caught their eye, they can browse. They don’t have to scroll all. the. way. to. the. bottom. Way down there. Where the next post begins. Maybe.
Trust me. Allowing your reader to have an overview of your posts makes for a more reader friendly blog. –>Tweet this!
Note: if you have a homepage that isn’t your blog page (like we sometimes do!) and that homepage has some excerpts or highlighted posts, I would not recommend that you also use excerpts on your blog page (when people click on the “blog” button of your site). This really does create more work (all that button clicking!) and can be frustrating.
I also wouldn’t recommend using excerpts if you only show excerpts in your RSS or email to your readers. Here is what happens: they read it in their email (the first 4 sentences) and then they click to read more because they are hooked (yay!). Then they get to your site and see the same bunch of sentences again, but want to make sure they don’t miss anything. So they read again. And then click “read more” (again). Then they get to go to the actual post page and AHHHHHH there are the same four sentences again!
This is when you pray they read them, again!
Moral of the story? Use post excerpts on your homepage OR blog page. Not in your email/RSS. And not in all of these places at one time!
Got it. Now how do I set this up?
I can’t guarantee how this is done on all themes but in Genesis (our most favorite theme ever), it is done here:
Notice, it mentions that “these options will affect any blog listings page, including archive, author, blog, category, search and tag pages.” And friend, it makes it so much more reader friendly!
So do you excerpt or not?